News Brief: CTSA Program Supports Research Network in Geographically Isolated Region

With support from NCATS’ Clinical and Translational Science Awards (CTSA) Program, the University of New Mexico Clinical and Translational Science Center (UNM CTSC) was a founding partner in the Mountain West Research Consortium (MWRC), currently a network of 11 universities spanning seven states. The MWRC’s goal is to build and enhance the geographically isolated region’s clinical and translational research capacity.

“A challenge in these states is building infrastructure for clinical and translational research,” said Richard Larson, M.D., Ph.D., principal investigator at the UNM CTSC. “The network we’ve created provides support to arm Mountain West researchers with training, data and knowledge that helps them collaborate with basic research colleagues, successfully apply for funding, and launch their first clinical trials.”

The UNM CTSC serves as a biostatistics support core for the MWRC, featuring services and training for consortium statisticians to build biostatistics capabilities locally. Investigators share a broad range of knowledge, expertise and resources, and they host an annual summer immersion program in clinical and translational science for undergraduate students from consortium institutions.

UNM CTSC representatives also provide grant writing mentoring, and in 2013 they worked with other MWRC representatives to collectively apply for and receive NIH support through the National Institute of General Medical Sciences’ Institutional Development Award (IDeA) program. The IDeA program fosters health-related research and enhances the competitiveness of investigators at institutions in states with historically low success rates for NIH applications. The IDeA funding is supporting MWRC’s clinical and translational research on diseases that often affect medically underserved populations.

Posted March 2016